Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Writerly Wednesday: Why the walls come crumbling down

Once there was an architect who set out to design the perfect building, one that would leave everyone awestruck.

When a rich developer heard about the architect's dream, he wanted to be part of it. So he hired the architect and told him not to spare any expense.

The architect went to work. He drew. He designed. He configured. Finally, he emerged from his office with the blueprint of what he believed was the most beautiful tower in the history of mankind, one that would leave everyone awestruck.

But when he took his plans to the developer, the developer grimaced and said, "This is good. But I don't like this archway. Can we change it?"

With a disappointed sigh, the architect returned to his drawing board and adjusted the blueprint to please the developer.

When he showed the revision to the developer, the developer exclaimed, "I love it!"

The developer's wife, who was standing nearby, agreed. "I, too, love it. But I'm not fond of the shape of this window. Can you change it?"

The architect was skeptical of her suggestion, but he returned to his drawing board and changed the shape of the window. After all, it wouldn't be the perfect building if someone didn't like it.

When the architect returned with the second revision, the developer and his wife praised the design.

But when the foreman of the construction crew saw it, he said, "This doorway is the wrong size. It needs to be changed."

So once again the architect returned to the drawing board and fixed the design.

Soon, construction on the tower began. Many onlookers marveled. Others weren't so thrilled.

Some complained the angles were too sharp.

Some complained about the color of the bricks.

Some simply complained that the new tower blocked their view.

And each time the architect heard another complaint, he ran back to his office and fixed it. After all, it wouldn't be the perfect building if someone didn't like it.

Then one day-- in the shadow of this half-built tower -- the developer and the architect began arguing. Even though the developer had said to spare no expense, he hadn't expected the all of the changes, and they were becoming costly.

Hearing the argument, the developer's wife approached and offered her two cents. Then the construction foreman got involved. So did several of the onlookers who had already expressed their opinions of the building.

Suddenly, a loud crack split through the air around them. The red beams that framed the building began to pull apart, and the tower collapsed, crushing the architect, the developer, his wife, the construction foreman and everyone else who had stood beneath.

They all died. The project went unfinished. The perfect building was never built.

What does this have to do with Writerly Wednesday?

Self-doubt is the child of perfectionism and the desire to please everyone. It can kill dreams before they have a chance to become reality.

When you're offered advice on a project, take time to gauge whether or not a change is necessary. After all, you can't please everyone.


Kat Heckenbach said...

One of the best bits of advice I ever received regarding my writing was, "Remember, a camel is a horse built by committee." Everyone has an opinion, and if you implement them all, you're creation will look nothing like your original idea.

Great post, Kat!

Anonymous said...

Here, here! Well said! ;)

Journaling Woman said...

Yes, Yes, Yes. Sometimes I think people talk just to hear themselves make a sound. Too bad. Love this post!

Christine Fonseca said...

Beautiful Kat - and PERFECT!@

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh this is perfect advice. Up on my office (bedroom) wall it goes. :D

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. And when you said, "Self-doubt is the child of perfectionism and the desire to please everyone" you hit the nail on the head.